BAE Systems could obtain new contract from U.S. Army for M109A6 PIM 155m self-propelled howitzer.
Saturday, October 26, 2013 02:21 PM
The Sterling Heights business unit of BAE Systems Inc. could obtain more than $300 million in contract funding over the next few years, after a federal Defense Acquisition Board decision to green-light initial production of M109A6 PIM (Paladin Integrated Management.) 155mm tracked self-propelled howitzer.
BAE Systems M109A6 PIM (Paladin Integrated Management) at AUSA 2013, defense exhibition in Washington D.C., United States.
The board earlier this week notified BAE it has approved low-rate initial production on the Paladin Integrated Management program, a variant of its M109 self-propelled howitzer. The decision is not a contract but is an internal decision within the U.S. Army that precedes a contract award, said Megan Mitchell of BAE's corporate communications division.
The Paladin Integrated Management is the latest addition to BAE's M109 family, which uses the existing main weapon and cab structure of an M109A6 howitzer, but replaces some of its chassis components with corresponding parts of the Bradley fighting vehicle.
The vehicle program is one of many engineered and managed by the Heavy Brigade Combat Team, a business unit headquartered in Sterling Heights. But without a contract in hand, Mitchell said, the company could not speculate on the funding that might go into the initial production award.
But a budget request under the fiscal 2014 National Defense Authorization Act, which went through the Senate over the summer, calls for $340.8 million in total funding for the Paladin program, including $260.2 million in the Army's Weapons and Tracked Combat Vehicles budget.
That could fund production of about two dozen vehicle sets, at an estimated unit cost of $14.4 million each. The Army in a statement this week said it plans to procure a total 66 and one-half vehicle sets, or 133 vehicles, starting in 2014, before full-rate production begins in 2017.
The M109A6 PIM comes in two-vehicle sets, consisting of a self-propelled howitzer and an accompanying tracked ammunition carrier.
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